Rabbi Ben Ezra

Browning’s famous poem on old age. Abraham Ibn Ezra (1092-1168) was a learned philosopher, physician, and poet.


This poem, written after Browning’s wife’s death, expresses an optimistic attitude toward death.

Alice in Wonderland

ALICE was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading.

Love-lighted eyes, that will not start

An acrostic is a poem in which certain letters in the lines (often the first) taken in order form a name, a word, a motto, or an alphabetical sequence. Opening lines: Love-lighted eyes, that will not start / At frown of rage or malice!...

Little maidens, when you look

An acrostic is a poem in which certain letters in the lines (often the first) taken in order form a name, a word, a motto, or an alphabetical sequence. Opening lines: Little maidens, when you look / On this little story-book,...

Around my lonely hearth to-night

An acrostic is a poem in which certain letters in the lines (often the first) taken in order form a name, a word, a motto, or an alphabetical sequence. Opening line: Around my lonely hearth tonight, / Ghostlike the shadows wander:...

Are you deaf, Father William

An acrostic is a poem in which certain letters in the lines (often the first) taken in order form a name, a word, a motto, or an alphabetical sequence. Opening line: “Are you deaf, Father William?” the young man said,...

Abou ben Adhem

One of Hunt’s memorable short.

  • ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase)
  • Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
  • And saw- within the moonlight in his room,
  • Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom
  • An angel, writing in a book of gold.

The Devil's Sooty Brother

A DISCHARGED SOLDIER had no money left and did not know how to get on. So he went out into the forest, and when he had walked for a short time, he met a little man who was, however, the Devil. The little man said to him, “What ails you, you seem so very sorrowful?” Then the soldier said, “I am hungry, but have no money.”

The Devil’s Three Gold Hairs

ONCE THERE WAS a very poor woman who was delighted when her son was born with a caul enveloping his head. This was supposed to bring good fortune, and it was predicted that he would marry the King’s daughter when he became nineteen. Soon after, a King came to the village, but no one knew that it was the King. When he asked for news, they told him that a few days before a child had been born in the village, with a caul, and it was prophesied that he would be very lucky. Indeed, it had been said that in his nineteenth year he would have the King’s daughter for his wife.

Anne Lisbeth

ANNE LISBETH was a beautiful young woman, with a red and white complexion, glittering white teeth, and clear soft eyes; and her footstep was light in the dance, but her mind was lighter still. She had a little child, not at all pretty; so he was put out to be nursed by a laborer’s wife, and his mother went to the count’s castle.

The Angel

The tale of an angel who carries a child up to heaven. The angel asks the child to choose a flower to bring along and relates the history of a withered field-flower.

The Devil and His Grandmother

THERE WAS a great war in which the King had many soldiers. But he gave them small pay, so small that they could not live upon it. Three of them agreed among themselves to desert. One of them said to the others, “If we are caught we shall be hanged on the gallows; how shall we manage it?”

The Death of the Hen

A cock and a hen go to the nut mountain and agree to divide the first nut either of them find.

The Cunning Little Tailor

ONCE UPON a time there was a Princess who was extremely proud. If a wooer came she gave him some riddle to guess, and if he could not find it out, he was sent contemptuously away. She let it be made known also that whosoever solved her riddle should marry her, no matter who he might be.

At length three tailors fell in with each other. The two eldest thought they had done so many dexterous bits of work successfully that they could not fail to succeed in this also; the third did not even know his trade

The Crystal Ball

An enchantress changes her two oldest sons into an eagle and a whale. Her youngest son escapes before she can transform him and he goes on to rescue a princess and to return his brothers to human form.

The Crumbs on the Table

While his mistress is away, a countryman tells his puppies to eat some bread crumbs off the table, but the little dogs are afraid the mistress will return and beat them.

The Bright Sun Brings It to Light

A TAILOR’S APPRENTICE was traveling about the world in search of work, and at one time he could find none, and his poverty was so great that he had not a penny to live on. Presently he met a Jew on the road, and as he thought he would have a great deal of money about him, the tailor thrust God out of his heart, fell on the Jew, and said, “Give me your money, or I will strike you dead.” Then said the Jew, “Grant me my life, I have no money but eight pennies.” But the tailor said, “Money you have, and it must be produced,” and used violence and beat him until he was near death.

The Cat and the Mouse in Partnership

A CAT having made acquaintance with a mouse, pretended such great love for her, that the mouse agreed that they should live and keep house together.

“We must make provision for the winter,” said the cat, “or we shall suffer hunger, and you, little mouse, must not stir out, or you will be caught in a trap.” So they took counsel together and bought a little pot of fat.

The Bremen Town Musicians

THERE WAS once an ass whose master had made him carry sacks to the mill for many a long year, but whose strength began at last to fail, so that each day as it came, found him less capable of work. Then his master began to think of turning him out, but the ass, guessing that something was in the wind that boded him no good, ran away, taking the road to Bremen; for there he thought he might get an engagement as town musician.

The Blue Light

A wounded soldier, no longer of service to the king, meets a witch who sends him into a well to retrieve a blue light. He lights his pipe with the light and a dwarf appears and promises to do his bidding.

The Boots of Buffalo Leather

A fearless soldier meets a huntsman in the woods and the two enter a house of robbers looking for something to eat. The brave soldier later learns the true identity of the huntsman.

The Bittern and The Hoopoe

A cow-herd tells why he feeds his flocks where the grass is neither too rich nor too poor. The bittern and the hoopoe were once shepherds, he explains, but neither knew the virtue of moderation.

Death’s Messengers

IN ANCIENT TIMES a giant was once traveling on a great highway, when suddenly an unknown man sprang up before him, and said, “Halt, not one step farther!” “What!” cried the giant, “a creature whom I can crush between my fingers, wants to block my way? Who art thou that thou darest to speak so boldly?” “I am Death,” answered the other.

Clever Else

Clever Else marries Hans who insists that she be careful as well as clever. One day Else falls asleep in the cornfield, and Hans covers her with a net. She later wakes up wondering who she is.

Clever Gretel

THERE WAS once a cook called Gretel, who wore shoes with red heels, and when she went out in them she gave herself great airs, and thought herself very fine indeed. When she came home again, she would take a drink of wine to refresh herself, and as that gave her an appetite, she would take some of the best of whatever she was cooking, until she had had enough- “for,” said she, “a cook must know how things taste.”


The famous tale of a girl who is mistreated by her evil stepmother and step-sisters but goes on to marry the prince. This, the original “Cindrella,” differs greatly from many of its modern variations.

Brother Frolick

A discharged soldier with a small loaf of bread and four kreutzers in gold goes out on a journey and shares his belongings with a saint disguised as a beggar. The saint repays the hermit’s kindness.

Brother and Sister

A brother and sister go out into the world to escape their step-mother, a witch. The witch turns the boy into a fawn and leaves the girl to be eaten by wild animals, but the girl becomes a Queen.

Brides on Trial

A young shepherd who wishes to marry cannot decide which of three pretty sisters to choose. His mother advises him to set some cheese before the maidens and watch how they eat it.


A brave soldier, relieved of his duties at the end of the war, meets the Devil in the woods.